Tapsula jive at Market Theatre

30 April 2004

A production exploring an innovative new concept in South African dance, Tapsula – an explosive mix of edgy township pantsula jive and classic tap – runs until the end of June at the African Bank Market Theatre in Newtown, Johannesburg.

Created by choreographer Cinda Eatock, Tapsula was born after Eatock returned from Broadway in 2000 and immersed herself in a unique, distinctly South African project: a combination of the pantsula dance movement with the artistic movements of tap.

Pantsula, with its township roots and reckless gangster mood, became an increasingly popular dance style in the 1980s against the backdrop of apartheid.

Dancers try to out-perform one another, moving at lightning speed to carefully choreographed steps. Like jazz, dancers then improvise their own variations of the jive theme, and the audience becomes part of the performance, egging on their favourite dancers.

For the African Bank Market Theatre Productions show, Eatock joins forces with Vita and Fleur de Cap award winner Mncedisi Shabangu as artistic director, and veteran theatre exponent Josias Dos Moleele as director.

Lesley “Ma Ada” More, of local music group “Alaska”, spices up the dance sequences with pantsula moves he created for his band’s repertoire, and an electrifying new soundtrack from Eugene Mthethwa of local band “Trompies” adds fuel to the flames

The cast of 18 dancers and drummers combine pantsula and tap with Tswana and gumboot dancing and the rhythmic beat of drums. Florsheim shoes, Dobs and Dickie trousers, bodies that speak through a twist and a spin, feet that mesmerise with their speed, all combine skilfully to conjure up Tapsula’s magic.

Tapsula runs until 27 June at the African Bank Market Theatre, corner Bree and Wolhuter streets, Newtown. For more information, contact the theatre on (011) 832-1641.

Source: City of Johannesburg website